The Modi government has been shovelling scarce taxpayer resources into solar energy, with a further $6.5 billion promised till 2022. This is over and above indirect subsidies that people pay through higher electricity bills because of renewable energy certificates. And while Donald Trump did the right thing by walking out of the Paris Agreement, Mr Modi unthinkingly remains committed to it and Niti Ayog has been touting subsidised electric vehicles.
Our party disagrees with this approach. First, because we oppose subsidies for any industry. But second, because we believe there is a strong case to impose Pigovian taxes on solar energy given the economic and environmental harm it causes.
Energy - Things - Power - Radio - Location
Solar energy can do a few useful things. It can power a radio in an off-grid location. But it can’t support our day-to-day life.
The sun’s incoming energy is extremely dilute, requiring panels spread over vast swathes of land to absorb it, thus pushing out forests and harming biodiversity. The 648 MW Kamuthi solar plant in Tamil Nadu covers ten square kilometres. A tenth of that land would have been sufficient for a larger capacity nuclear facility.
Problem - Energy - Sun - Shines - Rooftop
A much bigger problem is that solar energy is only available when the sun shines. I installed a rooftop system last year. As expected, this system dies at night. But it is a complete joke during winter when it generates less than 10% of its capacity for days on end. It is simply not fit for purpose.
While the benefits to society of solar energy are close to non-existent, its costs are huge. Just by reading newspaper headlines you would never know. “Grid parity” and “cheap solar” has become part of the propaganda cleverly crafted by solar lobbyists and “researchers” to bilk taxpayers. Next time you read about cheap solar energy, insist on getting the full costs.
Rooftop - Solar
Rooftop solar is...
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